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ESPOO, Finland – Horn-tooting and number-gazing aren’t activities that we feel sit that comfortably here on Conversations, so we’ve chosen not going to go into detail on Nokia’s fourth quarter financial results that were announced earlier (if you want the full lowdown on all the results from Q4 2009 you can read about it here). However, what does sit comfortably is exploring questions and hosting discussions around current trends, one of which was highlighted in today’s results.

Among the sea of numbers, what stood out for me was the fact that Nokia released double the amount of touchscreen devices in this last quarter than the previous period, resulting in a further surge in its estimated smartphone market share rising from 35% to 40%. Among the top performers were the touchscreen toting N97 mini, 5800 and 5530.

Now, does this suggest that a smartphone needs a touchscreen to even stand a chance of achieving a significant level of popularity and hero status? If you believe that to be true, what do you think it is that makes a touchscreen interface so indispensable when it comes to multi-talented top-end devices? Granted, one of the more obvious answers might be that a touchscreen boasts the ability to play the role of chameleon, adapting its control layout to suit the task at hand – such as how kinetic scrolling suits browsing lists on the N97 mini or double-tapping a web page makes a lot of sense as a zoom-in gesture – but there must be more to it than purely its talent to adapt to suit the task at hand. What else does a touchscreen offer that makes it so appealing – could it be as much about design and aesthetics as functionality, because surely a clean slab of glass is more attractive than a key-filled fascia? Now that may or may not be the case, but what we’re most interested to find out is what you think.

Scribble down your thoughts on the ongoing lure of the touchscreen in the comments section below…